Review of Michigan vs. The Boys

Michigan vs. The Boys

Carrie S. Allen

October 1, 2019

Kids Can Press

Blurb: When a determined girl is confronted with the culture of toxic masculinity, it’s time to even the score.

Michigan Manning lives for hockey, and this is her year to shine. That is, until she gets some crushing news: budget cuts will keep the girls’ hockey team off the ice this year.

If she wants colleges to notice her, Michigan has to find a way to play. Luckily, there’s still one team left in town …

The boys’ team isn’t exactly welcoming, but Michigan’s prepared to prove herself. She plays some of the best hockey of her life, in fact, all while putting up with changing in the broom closet, constant trash talk and “harmless” pranks that always seem to target her.

But once hazing crosses the line into assault, Michigan must weigh the consequences of speaking up — even if it means putting her future on the line.

Michigan vs. The Boys goes on sale on October 1. You can pre-order here: Amazon

I have read several novels about a girl playing on the boys’ hockey team before but none has been as gritty and unflinching as Carrie S. Allen’s Michigan vs. The Boys.

A decreased school budget forces the cutting of the two least performing sports teams at Michigan Manning’s public high school. Unfortunately, one of them happens to be the girls’ hockey, which Michigan plays on. If she wants to continue to play the sport she loves, her only recourse is to try out for the boys’ team. She makes the team, but that ends up being just the beginning of her battles.

The boys on the team don’t care that Michigan is a good player or that their team is actually winning because of her. They don’t care that scouts are in the stands because Michigan has been leading them to victory. What they care about is that she’s a girl who took the spot from a boy. The boys create a beyond toxic environment. At one point in time that would have tested believably for me, that these boys care more about a girl being on the team than winning but lately we’ve become aware just how badly people can behave (and that’s putting it mildly) when their misguided beliefs are tested.

The “up” moments in Michigan vs. The Boys are tempered by the “bad,” so that the reader experiences an emotional roller coaster that doesn’t let up until the “girl power” ending. While the ending was satisfying, what wasn’t was how alone Michigan was, how isolated.

Michigan vs. The Boys is definitely not for the squeamish and there are some infuriating and cringe-worthy moments that might not be suitable for all readers. There are some feel-good moments and many that aren’t, but they are realistic as well as frustrating.

I sprinted through Michigan vs. The Boys; it’s just that kind of read.

If you like YA sports novels, themes of David vs. Goliath, girl power, the underdog winning, than you should read Michigan vs. The Boys.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.


4 butterflies out of 5

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